AG Jepsen: State Reaches False Claims Act Settlement with
Providers at Children's Behavioral Health Clinic
A social worker and a doctor will pay a total of $120,000 to Connecticut's Medical Assistance Program (CMAP) through settlement agreements that resolve civil allegations involving the filing of false and fraudulent claims for payments at a Branford-based outpatient behavioral health clinic for children, Attorney General George Jepsen said today.
The state alleged that David M. Meyers, a licensed clinical social worker and former president of Cornerstones P.C., located in Branford, hired Dr. W. Blake Taggart to be the medical director of Cornerstones through an independent contractor agreement. Cornerstones' provider agreement with the state Department of Social Services (DSS) for participation in CMAP – which is the state's Medicaid program – required that the clinic comply with all applicable regulations. The state Department of Children and Families (DCF), which licenses and regulates outpatient psychiatric clinics for children, required Cornerstones to have a medical director. As part of Meyers' effort to maintain his clinic's enrollment in the CMAP beginning in January 2010, the DSS required an updated letter representing that Cornerstones continued to have a medical director overseeing care.
The state alleged that Dr. Taggart resigned as the clinic's medical director in September 2009, but two months later Meyers falsely stated in the letter to DSS that Dr. Taggart remained as the clinic's medical director. The state alleged that Dr. Taggart facilitated this misrepresentation by signing the false, back dated letter to DSS.
From January 1, 2010, through February 28, 2011, DSS paid Cornerstones $64,049.02 for claims submitted to the CMAP while the clinic was providing services to children allegedly without the supervision of a medical director.
Meyers has agreed to pay $90,000 and Dr. Taggart has paid $30,000 to resolve the state's allegations. Cornerstones P.C. has been dissolved and is no longer in operation.
"My office is committed to protecting CMAP and other state programs – as well as the taxpayers who fund them – from fraud," said Attorney General Jepsen. "By bringing state False Claims Act cases such as this, we recover funds obtained through fraud and deter others from attempting similar schemes. I appreciate the continued coordination and partnership with our client agencies and our law enforcement partners to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens as well as our taxpayer interests are protected."
DSS Commissioner Roderick L. Bremby said, “This is another example of the excellent work across state government to expose fraudulent activity and obtain compensation for the taxpayer-funded Medicaid program. The former providers subject to this action by no means represent the ‘norm’ of the program – enrolled providers are, on the whole, honest and forthright. The outliers, however, require our constant vigilance to ensure quality and integrity of the Medicaid program. We thank Attorney General Jepsen and his staff, along with our other state and law enforcement partners.”
Attorney General Jepsen thanked the DSS Office of Quality Assurance, DCF and the State of Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for their assistance and coordination in this case.
Today's action is part of a larger effort by the State of Connecticut's Interagency Fraud Task Force, which was created in July 2013 to wage a coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute healthcare fraud directed at state healthcare and human service programs. The task force includes a number of Connecticut agencies and works with federal counterparts in the U. S. Attorney's Office and the U.S. Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General – Office of Investigations. For more information about the Task Force, please visit www.fightfraud.ct.gov
Anyone with knowledge of suspected fraud or abuse in the public healthcare system is asked to contact the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney at 860-258-5986 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
; the Attorney General’s Antitrust and Government Program Fraud Department at 860-808-5040 or by email at email@example.com
; or the Department of Social Services fraud reporting hotline at 1-800-842-2155, online at www.ct.gov/dss/reportingfraud
or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Attorney General Karla Turekian, Forensic Fraud Examiner David Boucher and Legal Investigator Peter Harrington, working under Assistant Attorney General Michael Cole, chief of the Antitrust and Government Program Fraud Department, assisted the Attorney General with this matter.
Jaclyn M. Falkowski